06 October 2023- Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Nancy A. Walker today announced the availability of $800,000 in grant funding to support Veterans Employment Program (VEP) projects committed to connecting veterans with competitive job opportunities and helping address barriers to gainful employment.
The VEP initiative is designed to help veterans, members of all Reserves units and the Pennsylvania National Guard, and spouses of veterans and service members translate their military skills to civilian life. Eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, non-profit and non-governmental entities, community-based organizations, education and post-secondary institutions, labor organizations, business associations and economic development groups.
“Pennsylvania is home to more than 700,000 veterans – the fourth largest veteran population in the nation. Because of their sacrifice, we must ensure these individuals have access to every opportunity they need to successfully transition back into civilian life,” said Secretary Walker. “VEP funding is not only an investment in veterans and their families – it helps employers reach an untapped labor pool that will ultimately strengthen Pennsylvania communities and the Commonwealth’s economy.”
Governor Josh Shapiro has identified workforce development as a top priority of the Administration through an expansion of job-training, career and technical education, and apprenticeship programs that give Pennsylvanians, including veterans and their families, the freedom to chart their own course.
According to the Coordination of Veterans Services In Pennsylvania: A Task Force and Advisory Committee Report, in March 2021, many veterans choose to engage in educational pathways after separation from the armed forces but do not complete the education due to PTSD and/or financial problems. In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, active-duty military spouses earn approximately 26.8 percent less than their non-military spouse peers and 63 percent are underemployed, due to barriers such as interview bias, skills gaps, and licensing requirements.
“The transition from military service to civilian life is challenging. Our servicemembers and their families deserve every advantage we can offer to ensure a stress-free and successful transition,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “These grants will reduce the stress of the transition process and provide veterans one less thing to worry about as they begin their new career. We are grateful to L&I and the Shapiro Administration for recognizing the exceptional skills veterans bring to the workplace, and for helping them find meaningful employment.”
One grant will be awarded to a program serving only Delaware County, a region with a disproportionately high number of veteran residents than in other Pennsylvania counties while three other awards will be provided across Pennsylvania.
Successful applicants will identify opportunities for new and innovative projects to expand veteran employment opportunities, close funding gaps, or supplement existing initiatives for more comprehensive services. Applicants also need to demonstrate how they would bring together businesses, education, workforce, community, and other partners to achieve employment support for veterans.
Applications are due by 4 p.m. on November 15, 2023.
More information about Veterans Employment Program grant funding and other available grant opportunities can be found on L&I’s website.